One of God’s great abilities is his forgetfulness. Yes, I did write that. Our Lord has a unique characteristic—he can forgive. When God forgives, he forgets. He does not even remember what he forgives. I wish I had that unique ability. To ignore the hurts I have experienced. Yes, I forgive, but some of them still linger in my memory—much to my sorrow.
When we forgive, we need to move on with life. The apostle Paul put that thought into practice when he wrote, “But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead” (Philippians 3:13 HCSB).
Hopefully, you believe this scripture. Paul did. This apostle kept on winning people to Christ and continued to plant new churches. He did not let the past hold him back.
Paul lists his mistreatments by government and religious officials in II Corinthians 11:23-31, which is astounding. Would you quit on God if whipped five times? How about beaten with rods three times. If you experienced stoning and shipwreck, what would you do? Somewhere in all that, I would have said, “I was not in God’s will.” Therefore, I must be doing something wrong. But Paul didn’t even blink; he went on encouraging Christians, winning people to Christ, and writing much of the New Testament.
Paul kept pressing on (Philippians 3:14). His determination kept opening doors of opportunity to advance the Kingdom of God. For example, one time, Paul wanted to go east into what is now present-day northern Turkey. Instead, God redirected him west into Macedonia, which is now present-day Greece. By doing so, this apostle ministered in many cities and wrote letters to them. We know them as books of the Bible, including I & II Corinthians, Philippians, and I & II Thessalonians.
Obedience to God has personal benefits, but it can also affect our behavior in shaping and improving future generations (II Timothy 2:2). So, everything we do has far-reaching effects. So, with that in mind, keep on going for God. You will never know this side of heaven what Christ will do through you.
If God can forget Paul’s cruel dealing of Christians and use him mightily, what can the Lord do with you?